International military exercise Baltic Piranha starts in Lithuania

The military exercise will last until 28 October, Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence reports.

Some 280 soldiers from Belgium and 45 from Luxembourg are to take part in The Baltic Piranha. Most of them are arriving in Lithuania on Thursday.

Belgium and Luxembourg have also set about a hundred units of military equipment to be used during the training, mostly the Belgian infantry vehicles Piranha and Luxembourg’s reconnaissance vehicles Dingo II.

The exercise will include moving on public roads and parts of it will take place near populated areas, including meetings with local civilian institutions and people.

Exercise Baltic Piranha is organised by the Lithuanian Land Force and will involve over 500 military personnel and nearly 100 units of different military materiel.

This is the first deployment of a company-sized Belgian Army’s contingent to Lithuania. The participants from Luxembourg (a platoon-sized unit, roughly 30 members) are deployed from the same reconnaissance company that provided military personnel for Exercise Iron Sword 2014 which took place in Lithuania last November.

Soldiers from Belgium and Luxembourg are coming to Lithuania as part of the assurance measures agreed at the NATO Summit in Wales last year.

As the assurance measures are implemented, military personnel from Denmark, Germany, Hungary, and Portugal have already trained joint actions with Lithuanian troops since spring 2014. Currently there is a rotational US contingent consisting of over 200 troops deployed in Lithuania.

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